Election ’08 Turnout

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

The Electoral College meets today to choose our next president.

Yeah, you thought we did that last month, didn't you?  But we didn't.  We just elected electors to the Electoral College who gather, and — oh, screw it.  It's arcane and stupid.  But it happens today.

And with that, the New York Times informs us that '08 turnout was the highest in 40 years.   

More than 131 million people voted this time around, the most ever for a Presidential election, compared to a little more than the 122 million who voted in 2004. Overall, 61.6% of the nation's eligible voters turned out to cast their ballots. That's the highest turnout rate since 1968, when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey and native son George Wallace.   Four years ago in the Bush-Kerry race, 60.1% of those eligible voted.

All told, the number of voters increased 7.4% in the United States in the 2008 Presidential election over 2004.

The state which saw the biggest increase in turnout compared to 2004?  North Carolina. We had competitive elections for president, governor and Senate, so we jumped from 57.8% in 2004 to 65.8% this year. Obama won North Carolina by 14,177 votes, out of more than 4.3 million cast.

Early voting also hit a new high, with about 41 million people — or more than 31 percent — voting before Election Day, either by mail or at designated sites, according to returns compiled by The Associated Press. Early voting accounted for 22 percent of the votes cast in 2004.